Isaiah 41:4 “Who has planned and performed this, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, the first and the last; I am He.”
The generations are all there from the beginning. It is the Lord who calls them forth into their human existence.
A closer look at the Hebrew text will be helpful. Beginning is ROSH. In Genesis 1:1, the first word in Hebrew is B’RESHITH, which contains ROSH, and means “In the beginning.” There can be no mistake here. When God said that He called the generations “from the beginning”, He meant from Adam and Eve.
The word first is RISHON, which also contains ROSH. The “first” generation is the “beginning” generation.
The word last is AHERON, and it is plural in this verse. The last generations. As is so often the case with Hebrew, the actual words used are very few, and we are required to add other words in order to make sense for an English reader. This is the case here. It could well read – “I, the Lord, am with the first generation, and shall also be with the last generations.” Or perhaps, “I, the Lord, have called forth the first generation, and I will call forth the last generations.”
This brings us to the point where we have to admit that God has created a finite number of beings. It isn’t the case that as long as there’s a human pair and they copulate, another human being will be made. This is the result of evolutionary theory, the like of which we have all been subjected to for a century and a half. Just as there are a fixed number of planets in the solar system, and a fixed number of stars in our galaxy, so there are a definite number of human beings created by God, and sooner or later they will all have entered human life on the earth.
In this connection, we need to refer to Psalm 102:15-18 “The nations shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Your glory. When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. This shall be written for the generation to come.”
Here again, sadly, we are up against the translation problem. The Hebrew for “the generation to come” is AHARON, in other words it should have read,“This shall be written for the last generation.”
Even more pointed is the reference in Psalm 78:4-6 “. . . showing to the last generation the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children, that the last generation might know them, even the children who are yet to be born, who should arise and declare them to their children.”
If there remains any doubt about the translation “the last generation”, one needs to turn to Isaiah 44:6 “I am the first and the last, and beside me there is no god.” The word for “last” is AHARON.
Within the last generation, children will be born who will also have families, but it appears that an end is in view. Quite what this means in practice is hard to tell, and for the present time, we have no pat answers.
That this concept was known early on is without doubt. One has only to read 2 Esdras 4:33-36 “I asked, ‘How long have we to wait? Why are our lives so short and miserable?’ He (the angel) answered, ‘Do not be in a greater hurry than the Most High Himself. You are in a hurry for yourself alone; the Most High for many. Are not these the very questions that were asked by the righteous in the treasury of souls – How long must we stay here? When will the harvest begin, the time when we shall receive our reward? And the Archangel Jeremiel gave them this answer – As soon as the number of those like yourselves is complete. For the Lord has weighed the world in a balance, He has measured and numbered the ages; He will move nothing, alter nothing, until the appointed number is achieved.”
There are other similar words to be found in other Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphical writings. With that, we shall leave the topic for further thought. It is yet another item in this series of pointers to pre-existence.